Santa Rosa CityBus will launch a new Unlimited Rides (UR Free), pilot program providing fare-free rides for Santa Rosa youth on any of CityBus’s regular fixed routes, seven days a week beginning July 1. CityBus’s program is available to the approximately 30,000 youth grades TK through 12 who reside in Santa Rosa, including those who are home-schooled or are homeless. Fare-free transit helps remove a key financial barrier for youth going to school, working at a job or internship, or participating in an enriching extracurricular opportunity.
CityBus is also rolling out a second new UR Free program which offers an opportunity for local employers, residential development groups, and other community organizations to provide their employees, residents, and/or members unlimited free access to public transportation on CityBus. This new program is meant to expand access to fare-free transit to a wider range of the community, including residents of both affordable and market-rate housing developments.
Both programs, named Unlimited Rides (UR Free), are subsidized by funds from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Transportation Fund for Clean Air (TFCA) grant program, which is managed locally by the Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA). Funding for the youth UR Free Program will fully cover an 18-month pilot program. The other UR Free program will offer employers, residential groups, and other community organizations, deeply discounted fare rates for the next three years so that they may in turn provide free rides to their employees, residents, and/or members. This initial subsidy will provide the opportunity for CityBus ridership to grow and the benefits of the program to be demonstrated.
“Providing the Unlimited Rides programs creates multiple benefits to our community, including immediately providing an economic benefit as families recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said City of Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers. “Expanding free transit to youth further reduces greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion while supporting return to school efforts and ultimately increasing the profile of public transportation in Santa Rosa.”
Students and youth in grades 9 through 12 can simply show a student ID or special pass when boarding the bus to take advantage of the UR Free program. Students and youth who need a replacement card or who do not have a student ID can visit the CityBus Transit Mall kiosk located on Second Street with proof of age to be issued a temporary pass until school starts. A student ID is not required for youth in grades TK to 8. CityBus will be working directly with the schools and programs serving youth to ensure that all youth have access to the Unlimited Ride program. Youth who are experiencing homelessness are also eligible to participate in the program, regardless of current residence or school address.
Employers, residential developments, and other community institutions interested in providing their employees, residents, members and others within the organization unlimited access to public transportation on CityBus through the second UR Free program should email CityBus Transit Planner Yuri Koslen at email@example.com.
For more information about CityBus UR Free programs, visit srcity.org/Fares
About Santa Rosa City Bus
Santa Rosa CityBus has been operating free-fare programs for years and currently provides fare-free access for SRJC students, paratransit registrants, Veterans, City employees and children age four and under. Prior to the pandemic these programs provided approximately 30,000 rides monthly, with a rate of growth greatly exceeding that of the system as a whole, a 19% increase in ridership between 2018 and 2019.